The importance of a healthy gut microbiome can’t be underestimated, and the problems of an unbalanced microbiome are often overlooked.
The good bacteria fight the bad bacteria which are associated with chronic disease and inflammation.
The good guys contribute to
- carbohydrate metabolism, reducing fermentation and bloating.
- they support the immune system, have anti- microbial, anti-fungal and anti- inflammatory properties
- synthesis a variety of B vitamins and vitamin K
- support brain health, by synthesising neurotransmitters, particularly GABA which helps control feelings of anxiety and depression
- support the skin through the gut-skin axis, reducing inflammation, increase defence against pathogens, and helping with conditions such as acne and psoriasis.
Commercially produced sauerkraut is often either pasturised, killing the live bacteria or made with vinegar rather than traditionally fermenting which takes time and therefore contains none of the beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Making your own at home is super easy. You will need a large very clean ceramic or glass (not metal or stainless steel) bowl for mixing and a sterile glass jar. I use Kilner type jars with rubber seals as these allow for a slow release of gas during the fermentation process.
I always use natural sea salt or Himalayan salt as the iodine in ordinary table salt can be problematic. Play around with adding herbs and spices to change the flavour. One you get confident fermenting the options are endless! Add in other veggies such as carrots, or try fermenting them on their own with fresh grated ginger. Beetroot is another great veg to ferment and like red cabbage produces a lovely vibrant colour. Chlorine in water stops the fermentation process so always use filtered water.
1 large organic cabbage (green or red)
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of caraway, dill or fennel seeds (optional)
300-400ml of filtered water with 1-2 tsp of water dissolved (ideally 1 tsp per 200ml)
Remove outer leaves and reserve the cleanest for later.
Thinly slice cabbage and place in a large bowl. Add 1tsp of salt mix and pound the cabbage until it starts to release its moisture.
Spoon cabbage into your sterile glass jar, pushing and packing down tightly every few spoonfuls, you want to eliminate any air pockets as much as possible.
Do NOT fill jar to brim, you need to leave some expansion space!
Pour the salt water (brine) to completely cover cabbage.
Take the reserved leaf and fold, placing on top of the cabbage to act as weight to keep sliced cabbage submerged)
Close lid and keep jar in a cool dark dark place (away from sunlight) for 14 days. Check regular the first week and release gas by gently opening jar a couple of times.
After 14 days remove and discard the leaf and move your sauerkraut to the fridge where it will keep for several months.